Make Love Not Porn boss Cindy Gallop on why now is the time to invest in sex tech

Make Love Not Porn has seen an increase in daily revenue over the past month

As the Covid-19-imposed lockdown rumbles on, there has never been a better time to invest in sex tech, according to Make Love Not Porn founder Cindy Gallop.

The former chair of BBH New York says her user-generated, crowdsourced video-sharing platform — which curates videos of people having 'real world sex' as an antithesis to modern pornography — told The Drum her business has seen an increase in daily revenue over the past month.

”That's significant because we're still bootstrapping,” she said. ”We don't have funding to do paid-for promotion, but our income [from paying members] is increasing anyway. That reason is why investors should be falling over themselves to get in touch with me pronto. The world is more in need of love, intimacy and human connection than ever before.”

Make Love Not Porn continues to count the US (where it’s based) as its largest market. However, amid a global lockdown its highest traffic sources are coming from countries including UK, Canada, Germany, India, Australia, France, Italy, Spain, and the Netherlands. “India is our fifth highest traffic source and we don’t market ourselves in that country," Gallop revealed.

She continued: “I believe it’s important to take a positive and constructive approach to this tragic situation we find ourselves in. Out of adversity comes opportunity.

”It is only when things break down that a new model and new way of doing things is enabled. And this is especially good news for all those of us who were never in the status quo to begin with. The time for sex tech is now and Make Love Not Porn’s time has come.”

Known for her fearless entrepreneurial shtick about the lack of funding and business investment in the adult industry, Gallop has been firm in her rally for what she describes as a ”social sex revolution”.

Frustrated with how hard it was to find backing for such a business, Gallop announced she would launch her own $200m sex tech fund in 2017, which she says will fund radically innovative sex tech startups including businesses by female founders and designers, as well as dating apps.

A 'new world order' of dating apps

As for the dating apps of today, Gallop believes they are marketing themselves all wrong.

“It's ludicrous that dating apps like Tinder and Grindr refuse to admit that people use them to have sex," she asserted.

”They will avoid any mention of the term 'hookup culture'. The problem here is that when [a business like that] doesn't admit that people use their apps to have sex – and that it is entirely natural – then they don't proactively design for it. They don't design for good sexual values and good sexual behaviour. And that is why as a straight woman on dating apps, I'm greeted by a slew of introductory dick pics.”

Gallop, of course, has a vision of a “new world order dating app” that will not emulate the male-centric gaze reflected in the likes of Tinder (with its ”all-male founding team, all-male development team, all-male funding from VCs and until very recently an all-male board”).

Gallop went on: “We have to remember women enjoy sex just as much as men and men are just as romantic as women.”

So what if it had been Peter Stringfellow and not Gallop that had launched a site like Make Love Not Porn? Would that have received a more favourable reception? “A man would never have come up with the concept,” Gallop responded.

While her aim with Make Love Not Porn has been to normalise sex for the masses, the former ad exec also continues to battle straight-jacketed sexual attitudes.

“I tweet about a whole range of things – from business to feminism to sex to Make Love Not Porn. For years I've observed that my tweets and posts about sex are read, but they are never liked, shared and retweeted at the same level as anything else I put out there. That's because of fear of what other people will think. However, the same tweets will get 25,000 impressions.”

She has, however, noticed a change recently. “There has been more and more willingness to share my posts. And I find quite ‘serious business people’ that I will not necessarily have expected to want to retweet a post about how now is a good time to come and become a Make Love Not Porn star. What that says to me is that in this situation of global unity, we're all going through the same things.”

Gallop took a parting shot at the ad industry itself, saying there was a huge amount of money to be made for brands that took women seriously.

Lamenting at the continued lack of diversity in the white male-run world and an industry that is ”collapsing awfully”, she concluded: “You need our innovation, you need our disruption, and you need our lens on how to sell to us. Sit back, listen, ask and do what we recommend, and you will own the future of industry.”

You can watch the full interview with Gallop here. You can also view more content from The Drum's Digital Transformation Festival here.

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